All-time UCLA Bruins March Madness starting lineup

The 11-time national champion UCLA Bruins have had some of the greatest college basketball players in history pass through Pauley Pavilion. But what is the best March Madness starting lineup we can make, taking into account only their performance in the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA Bruins center Lew Alcindor (33)
UCLA Bruins center Lew Alcindor (33) / Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
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The UCLA Bruins have won an astonishing 11 men’s basketball NCAA championships with 10 under the legendary John Wooden from 1964-75. That stretch included seven in a row and featured five different players who were named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. 

The most recent UCLA championship came in 1995 with Jim Harrick at the helm, but a few years ago, Mick Cronin took the Bruins from the First Four to the Final Four, and modern-day legends were made on that historic run. The UCLA basketball program has had generations of stars come through Pauley Pavilion, from Kiki Vandeweghe to Reggie Miller, to Baron Davis, to Kevin Love, to Lonzo Ball, to Jaime Jaquez Jr. but to become a UCLA legend you must dominate in March. 

All of those great players have been left off UCLA’s all-time March Madness starting five. A list like this is insanely exclusive (I even had to leave off Walt Hazzard), and it’s judged specifically on the player’s performance in the NCAA Tournament. Oh, and it goes without saying that all five of the players in this starting lineup won it all for the Bruins. 

I’ve included five starters and a sixth man for this group and tried to make the most positional sense I could. Obviously, my choice for head coach, the genius Steve Alford, will be able to coach this group to a title.

player. PG. 1962-65. Gail Goodrich. 518. Goodrich. . . Gail Goodrich.

Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich shared the backcourt for UCLA’s 1964 national title, but in 1965, Goodrich brought the team back to win it all again. Hazard was the Final Four MOP in 1964 and in ‘65 it was given to Princeton’s Bill Bradley despite his team’s losing effort. 

In 1964, Goodrich averaged 18.8 points in UCLA’s four tournament victories and dropped 27 points on 9-18 shooting the final against Duke. Hazzard went for 11 points and eight assists as the team’s point guard. 

Goodrich then shifted over to the role of point guard in 1965 but kept his score-first mentality. Without Hazzard to share the ball with, Goodrich averaged 24.8 points in the regular season, but in four tournament games, averaged 35. 

Goodrich was robbed of MOP in 1965 after his 42-point performance to lead UCLA to beat No. 1 Michigan 91-80.